So, a few people asked me to give a basic idea about how I went about starting off the baby led weaning journey for my son. So I thought I’ll just quickly put together a few weeks points on how I went about it.
Before I begin, I’d like to take a minute to tell one thing that I always say – I am no expert in this field, I am writing this solely based on my experience with my son.
We started solids for my son after he completed 6 months. By that time he was able to sit up on his own as well.
I’ll quickly list down a few things to remember before you start Baby-Led Weaning:
- Please remember that your baby should be able to sit up unsupported, show interest towards food, should have lost the tongue thrust reflex and should have completed 6 months in order to start solids.
- Know and understand the difference between choking and gagging.
- Till the age of one, solid food is more for exploring and learning new tastes and textures than nutrition. Breastmilk or formula milk should still be the primary source of nutrition.
- Be prepared to deal with a messy space AND baby. You can reduce waste by offering little by little instead of offering a lot at one go so. I have found bits of food hidden in unreachable corners of the high chair and his diaper quite a few times.
- Trust your baby. Your baby WILL NOT starve himself/herself. There are days when my son eats like he has never eaten food before and days when he doesn’t even touch his ‘favorite’ food.
- Variety is the spice of baby’s life too. Offer different types of food instead of the same stuff everyday. This will not just expose them to different textures but also ensure that they don’t favor a particular type of food.
- That said, keep offering foods they have rejected once again after a week or two because you never know when they start liking foods they have previously not enjoyed.
- Remember that BLW is letting the child self feed and to ensure this happens properly, you need to offer food they can pick and eat themselves. Which means no purees or mashes. Opt for finger food rather. We started off with steamed apple & pear wedges, broccoli florets, sweet potato wedges and idli and dosa chunks.
- Eat with the baby. The more they see you eat, the more they learn from it.
- Another important aspect of BLW is that the baby eats what the rest of the family eats. Just make sure you adjust spice and salt levels accordingly.
- Do NOT set a benchmark/ have a preconceived notion for how much your baby should eat, in your mind. A baby’s tummy is the size of his/her fist which by all means can’t accommodate all that food you want him/her to eat. Like I said before, trust your baby. They know how much they want.
- Increase the amount of solids you give gradually. I started with one meal a day and gradually moved to one meal and one snack, two meals and a snack, three meals and a snack and now at almost 16 months we are at three meals and two snacks a day. There are still days when he has only one or two meals and a snack or lesser and I am completely okay with it because he is healthy and active and I can’t really be complaining, can I? He also gets a fair share of whole milk (started after he turned one) and breastmilk through the day.
- Educate yourself and your family so that you are all on the same page. There is a lot of information online and all it takes is a Google search.
- Be patient. Your baby won’t start eating like you in a month’s time. It isn’t even going to happen in weeks or months. So be patient and let them learn and explore and enjoy food at their own sweet pace. Also, there is no fixed time for a baby to finish a meal. Sometimes it may be just 5 minutes while on other days it may be way longer.
- Offer meals and snacks when they are not tired or sleepy. I offer breakfast 30-45 minutes after he wakes up in the morning. Sometimes it takes a little longer too, I go by his cues and behavior that day. I do the same when it comes to lunch and dinner as well.
- A high chair/ booster chair certainly helps to but isn’t a necessity. We did just as good without it while we were traveling.
- Last but not the least, try and have fun during the entire process. There isn’t anything cuter than a baby trying to self-feed and have fun.
I think I have covered the basics and really hope this post gives a fair idea on how to go about Baby-Led Weaning. Do comment and let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to help you out the best I can.